Saturday, May 17, 2008

Clinton's Latest Contrived Metric: Electoral Votes

Behind in the number of contests won, the number of votes won, and the total number of delegates won, Hillary Clinton is advancing yet another "measure" by which she insists she is actually ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination.

At TalkLeft, Jeralyn Merrit writes about a conference call in which a "very hoarse" Sen. Clinton argued that she is beating Obama in what has magically become the most important metric: electoral votes.

The number one message: It's the map not the math. In addition to the popular vote, the electoral map shows her with a cushion and Obama with a deficit. She has won 311 electoral votes to Obama's 217. While a few of her's like Texas and Oklahoma will be a challenge in November, many of his states will be: Alaska, Idaho, Utah, to name a few.

It's especially important to focus on this because it’s what superdelegates are supposed to be doing, exercising independent judgment to determine who would be the better candidate against John McCain in November.
This is almost pity-inducing.

Hillary Clinton has not won more electoral votes than Barack Obama. She has not won any electoral votes at all. The nomination is not awarded on the basis of electoral votes. It is awarded on the basis of delegates, of which Barack Obama has secured more through his victories in the primary contests and the announced support of superdelegates.

As absurd as this "electoral vote" argument is, it really is just an extension of the old "big state" rationale that Clinton began pushing after Super Tuesday. The argument is that, if Barack Obama cannot beat Hillary in a certain state during the primaries, he cannot beat John McCain there in November.

By that logic, John McCain will coast to victory in California in the general election. Likewise, if she were to seize the nomination somehow, Clinton could be expected to blow McCain away in West Virginia. Who on earth thinks either one of those scenarios is likely? Performance in the primaries simply cannot be assumed to be a reliable indicator of how a candidate will perform in the general election.

Trying to count electoral votes during the primaries is like trying to count touchdowns in a baseball game. It simply isn't the way the score is kept. Hillary Clinton knows this, and she should be ashamed of herself for inflating the hopes of her passionate supporters with this cynical, last-gasp rationale for relevancy in the race for the Democratic nomination.

I have never argued that Clinton should withdraw, but if this is how she is going to spend the rest of her time in the race, she would be better off dropping out now. She is embarrassing herself, and it is painful to watch.

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